22/12/2018 07:00 GMT

Christmas TV Schedule 2018: 20 Unmissable Films Airing On TV During The Festive Period

We've done the work for you, and picked out this year's must-see movies.

As well as the usual festive specials of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Call The Midwife’ and ‘Great British Bake Off’, this Christmas season there’ll be a whole slew of great films to sit down and enjoy.

We all know how stressful navigating the TV guide can be at this time of year, so to help you out, we’ve narrowed it down to 20 of our favourites, and why they’re perfect choices to stick on the box this year...

1. ‘Up’


When? Sunday 23 December, 2.35pm on BBC One

Perfect for: When you’re still not quite ready to put something Christmassy on, but you do want to watch something the whole family can enjoy.

2. ‘The Grinch’

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When? Christmas Eve, 12.55pm on ITV

Perfect for: When you want to show your Benedict Cumberbatch-loving younger cousins how The Grinch is supposed to be played.

3. ‘Mary Poppins’


When? Christmas Eve, 12.55pm on ITV

Perfect for: Every living person. Watching ‘Mary Poppins’ in December is basically UK law at this point.

4. ‘Miracle On 34th Street’

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When? Christmas Eve, 6pm on Channel 4

Perfect for: Families sitting down and waiting for Santa to come.

5. ‘Rear Window’


When? Christmas Day, 3.20am on Channel 4

Perfect for: When you’ve already inexplicably stayed up past 3am on Christmas Eve, so you might as well as top off the dysfunctional evening by watching one of the most sinister films ever made.

6. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

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When? Christmas Day, 4pm on Channel 4

Perfect for: When you’re struggling to find a film everyone can agree on. Who doesn’t love this one at Christmas time?

7. ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’

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When? Christmas Day, 11.30pm on ITV

Perfect for: The end of a long old Christmas, when you really need to sit down with a glass of prosecco and a film you already know every single word to.

8. ‘Saving Mr Banks’


When? Boxing Day, 2.30pm on BBC Two

Perfect for: When watching ‘Mary Poppins’ – and, quite probably, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ – has put you in a nostalgic mood, and you want to learn a bit more about the making of the Disney classic. Or you fancy watching something simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking.

9. ‘Mrs Doubtfire’


When? Boxing Day, 5.45pm on Channel 4

Perfect for: When Christmas is well and truly done for another year, and what you need is a big old laugh.

10. ‘Dirty Dancing’


When? Boxing Day, 10pm on Channel 5

Perfect for: A guaranteed pick-me-up at the end of another day in what can be a draining time of the year.

11. ‘Love Actually’

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When? Boxing Day, 10.25pm on ITV

Perfect for: Alternatively, those who fancy keeping the festive spirit going for a little while longer. 

12. ‘Emma’


When? Friday 28 December, 12.30pm on BBC Two

Perfect for: If you promised yourself you’d delve into some classic literature over the Christmas break, but ultimately didn’t feel like it.

13. ‘Sunshine On Leith’

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When? Friday 28 December, 2.35pm on Channel 4

Perfect for: If you’re in the mood for a musical knees-up, and your usual go-tos just aren’t cutting it anymore.

14. ‘Chicken Run’


When? Saturday 29 December, 1.15pm on BBC One

Perfect for: If being at home over Christmas has made you regress to your childhood self, and you feel like watching one of your old faves.

15. ‘Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory’

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When? Sunday 30 December, 5pm on Channel 5

Perfect for: When you need a film to bring everyone together towards the end of the festive season.

16. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

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When? Sunday 30 December, 8pm on ITV

Perfect for: If the ‘Star Wars’ trend has evaded you thus far, this first instalment of the rebooted trilogy is a great place to start.

17. ‘The Muppet Movie’

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When? New Year’s Day, 10am on Channel 4

Perfect for: If you overdid it on New Year’s Eve, and what you really need to soothe you is the calming image of Kermit The Frog playing the banjo on a log.

18. ‘Inside Out’

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When? New Year’s Day, 5pm on BBC One

Perfect for: The usual Pixar mix of an emotional rollercoaster with enough jokes for the adults watching and silly moments to entertain the kids, all with a thought-provoking premise.

19. ‘Sister Act’


When? New Year’s Day, 5.50pm on Channel 4

Perfect for: If you want to watch something truly hilarious to kickstart 2019.

20. ‘The Revenant’


When? New Year’s Day, 10pm on BBC Two

Perfect for: When you’re back at work in the morning, and what you really need is to see someone who looks even rougher than you feel.